World

France arrests 5 suspected of recruiting young women to fight with extremists in Syria

FILE - In this June 4, 2014 file photo, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, right, and Belgium's Interior Minister Joelle Milquet speak with the press after laying a wreath at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Recruiters for Islamic extremist groups are increasingly targeting French women and girls, with nearly 100 either in Syria or on their way and 175 being monitored at home, security officials say. France’s Interior Ministry on Tuesday Sept.16, 2014 posted a video showing anguished family members of young people who left to fight alongside extremists, including a young man whose 15-year-old sister set out for what she thought was a humanitarian aid mission. She has not returned.  (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse, File)

FILE - In this June 4, 2014 file photo, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, right, and Belgium's Interior Minister Joelle Milquet speak with the press after laying a wreath at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Recruiters for Islamic extremist groups are increasingly targeting French women and girls, with nearly 100 either in Syria or on their way and 175 being monitored at home, security officials say. France’s Interior Ministry on Tuesday Sept.16, 2014 posted a video showing anguished family members of young people who left to fight alongside extremists, including a young man whose 15-year-old sister set out for what she thought was a humanitarian aid mission. She has not returned. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse, File)  (The Associated Press)

France's top security official says five people have been arrested suspected of belonging to a ring that recruits young women to join Islamic militants in Syria.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the arrests were made Tuesday and Wednesday morning in the Lyon area, in central France.

Young French men and women make up the largest contingent of European jihadis fighting in Syria, and security officials fear they will use newfound fighting skills — and European Union passports — to carry out attacks back home.

A Frenchman who fought with the Islamic State group is suspected of attacking a Jewish museum in Brussels in May, killing four people with a Kalashnikov.

About 2,000 Europeans are fighting in Iraq and Syria, security officials say.